ICC mulling inquiry on crimes against migrants in Libya


The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor expressed alarm at the inhumane detention of thousands of vulnerable migrants in Libya and said she was examining whether an investigation could be opened into crimes against them.

Libya is the main gateway for migrants attempting to reach Europe by sea. The United Nations migration agency said more than 1,000 migrants have been reported dead or missing in the Mediterranean this year, while an unknown number perish in the desert.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, 20,000 migrants are held by criminal gangs in irregular detention centres in Libya and growing numbers of migrants are traded in what they call slave markets before being held for ransom, forced labour or sexual exploitation.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the United Nations Security Council her office was collecting and analysing information “related to serious and widespread crimes allegedly committed against migrants attempting to transit through Libya.”
“I take this opportunity before the council to declare my office is carefully examining the feasibility of opening an investigation into migrant-related crimes in Libya should the court’s jurisdictional requirements be met,” Bensouda said.

The United Nations Security Council in 2011 asked the court to investigate crimes committed since the start of an uprising the same year that led to the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. The oil-producing North African state slipped into turmoil and been riven by factional strife since.